steph speaks singlish

Steph is in Singapore and using Singlish like a pro! (It’s easy, cos it’s like Manglish only a bit more different) Because most of our readers are Aussies, and if there’s one thing Aussies love it’s slang, she’s compiled a list of important words she knows/has been learning to use in Singapore.

Words Steph is using in everyday convo

Shiok: Awesome or delicious or excellent.

Chope: You know when you get to a food court and there’s no tables, and you don’t know whether to wait until you can get a table and leave someone there to guard it, or to go get your food and hope you can find one when you have your food? To chope is to put something small but useful, such as a cheap umbrella or a half used travel tissue pack, on the table or spot where you want to sit.

Jalan-jalan: If you jalan-jalan, you are going for a wander around, having a bit of a sticky beak.

Makan: TO EAT!

Auntie/Uncle: An older person, doesn’t have to be related to you. Can also refer to an attitude, the way we might infer someone’s being a nanna. (I described someone as “auntie here very auntie” last week)

Blur like sotong: CONFUSED LIKE A SQUID. Actually blur is like slow to understand something, but confused can be also. (related: can ‘act blur’ which is pretending to be confused)

Ang moh: Westerner

Agak-agak: approximate, guessing

Can or not: It’s a question, can you do it?

Da bao: take away


Merlion: It means to vom. I haven’t actually used this yet!

Liao: already

Yaya papaya: arrogant (related: I’ve not heard this said but apparently there’s ‘stylo milo’ and I’m DESPERATE to find out if that’s current slang so bad SO BAD)

Exclamation kind of things

Wah: mostly at the beginning of a sentence, to show surprise or delight.

Lor: I guess, maybe. or agreeing can also

Lah: emphasis, at the end of a sentence

Leh: negative

Things that made me laugh

MOE: No penalty for using Singlish appropriately

Using Singlish words like “sabo” or “kiasu” in your English composition assignments?

You will not be penalised if you include these terms “appropriately”, said the Education Ministry (MOE).

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